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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Watford 0

Scott Arfield winner keeps Clarets marching on with victory over 10-man Watford

9 December 2017

Scott Arfield once again proved his enduring value to the Clarets as his first-half goal kept Burnley’s riding on the coat tails of the Premier League’s top six.

Arfield came in for his first start in seven games with the task of filling the boots of the injured Robbie Brady.

And once again the long-serving midfielder stepped up, coolly steering home his first goal since scoring at Anfield in September to give the Clarets a fourth home win of the season.

Each one of those victories has come on the back of a clean sheet – with Sean Dyche’s men now taking their tally of shut-outs up to seven.

And once more the Clarets’ back line, despite another enforced change of personnel, came good as Watford, so free-scoring away from home this season, were unable to counter Arfield’s strike which came after the Hornets had been reduced to 10 men following a straight red card for defender Marvin Zeegelaar’s rash challenge on the impressive Steven Defour.

As well as the absence of Brady, the Clarets were also without Ben Mee as his ever-present run this season was ended with the gashed knee he sustained at Leicester a week ago.

That meant a first league start for Kevin Long and also a third captain of the league campaign for the Clarets, with Jack Cork taking the arm band against the club he previously represented on loan.

Long started well against the physical presence of Watford captain Troy Deeney, as former Clarets striker Andre Gray started on the bench for the visitors.

But there were early scares for Burnley as Deeney nodded wide from a corner and Richarlison steered an effort wide at full stretch from Andre Carillo’s excellent cross.

Carillo also tested Clarets keeper Nick Pope, the alert Phil Bardsley setting the tone for his afternoon by reacting the quickest to prevent Richarlison from snaffling the rebound as Watford looked to extend an impressive record which had seen them score at least twice in every away game so far this season.

But having come through that test, the Clarets eased their way into the contest before taking control before the break.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson was again involved in many of Burnley’s best moments going forward and after being tripped by Tom Cleverley he was only denied the opening goal by Heurelho Gomes’ fantastic full-length save from a curling 25 yard-free kick which destined for the bottom corner.

Gomes then saved again from Chris Wood after Stephen Ward’s early ball had put Wood in behind Watford’s back line.

And with 38 minutes gone Watford were reduced to 10 men when Zeegelaar dived into a challenge on Defour.

That further unsettled the visitors, who had been struggling to resist growing pressure and six minutes later went 1-0 down as Arfield struck.

It was another well-constructed move that opened up the Watford defence – which saw Jose Holebas come on to fill the void left by Zeegelaar’s early departure – matched by the finish of Arfield.

Again Gudmundsson was involved with a ball in from the right which was dummied by Jeff Hendrick.

Arfield then showed two delightful touches to take the ball around Daryl Janmaat and his early strike gave Gomes no chance as the Canada international rolled a left-foot shot across the keeper to claim his second goal of the season.

Watford took the opportunity to re-group at the break and again started the second half in positive fashion as they took the game to the Clarets to try and force an equaliser.

Cleverley steered an effort wide but Burnley stood firm and didn’t allow the visitors a clear sight of goal before re-gaining control and going in search of a second goal to kill off the game.

Dyche – whose first game as a manager had come when he brought Watford to Turf Moor in August 2011 – sent on Ashley Barnes in place of Hendrick and with just over 20 minutes to go, Barnes thought he had got it.

The striker drilled the ball into the net from 12 yards but having been marginally off-side in the previous passage of play, referee Lee Probert reversed his decision and on the advice of assistant disallowed the goal.

Watford boss Marco Silva sent on Gray with 12 minutes to go to try and snatch but again it was Burnley who went closest, the superb Gudmundsson forcing Gomes into another fine save to keep out the Icelander’s left-footed effort.

A second goal wouldn’t come but Watford haven’t won at Turf Moor since 2004 and this was another day they didn’t look likely to end that record as Burnley continue to march on.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Long, Ward, Cork, Defour (Westwood 90), Arfield, Hendrick (Barnes 60), Gudmundsson, Wood. Substitutes: Lindegaard, Taylor, Ulvestad, Vokes, Wells.

Booked: Bardsley

Watford: Gomes, Janmaat, Mariappa, Kabasele, Zeegelaar, Cleverley, Doucoure, Carrillo (Gray 78), Pereyra (Holebas 42), Richarlison, Deeney. Substitutes: Karnezis, Prodl, Capoue, Watson, Success.

Booked: None

Sent off: Zeegelaar

Referee: Lee Probert

Attendance: 19,479

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